Exploring ontario in the winter - hello from barrie

Our winter getaway over the last two days was supposed to include a couple of different activities: snow-tubing and outdoor skating. Well, our outdoor skating fell through, due to the extraordinarily warm conditions, however, we had a beautiful day yesterday on Kempenfelt Bay in Barrie, where we enjoyed some great outdoor time on frozen Lake Simcoe.

Today, after our delicious filling breakfast at Nicholyn Farms Bed and Breakfast, we headed off for another adventure: snowtubing at Horseshoe Valley. Unfortunately the weather today was even less cooperative: as the day progressed it went from freezing rain to rain to a veritable downpour as we drove back to Toronto.

Nevertheless the morning was cold enough for our snowtubing adventure. My 8-year old nephew had never been snowtubing before, and knowing his penchant for high-speed adrenaline-filled activities, we knew that he would fall in love with this sport.

Horseshoe Valley is one of several Ontario winter resorts and in addition to downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and skating, it also features a snow-tubing hill. It's a thrill to get pulled up on the hill, sitting on a refunctioned inner tube, and then getting linked up in a group of 2, 3 or 4 snow-tubers, who hold on to their neighbouring tuber's handle and then get pushed down the hill by one of the staff members - with a spin and a momentum that feels almost like a roller coaster!

Snowtubing is just one of the many fun winter activities that Ontario has to offer.

Snow Valley Resort just on the other side of Highway 400 also offers snowtubing.

Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood is another place for Ontario snowtubing enthusiasts.


Obviously hockey is Canada's national sport and skating runs in the veins of many residents of this northern country. Virtually all Ontario cities, towns and villages have outdoor skating rinks and indoor arenas. Outdoor skating is free in many cases, and indoor pleasure skating is generally a very inexpensive sport.

One of the best known skating Ontario opportunities exists in Ottawa, on the 7.8 km long Rideau Canal, the world's longest skating rink according to the Guiness Book of Records. The City of Ottawa lists its public skating information on the Internet.

Toronto's well-known outdoor skating venues include City Hall, Harbourfront and Grenadier Pond in HIgh Park and the City of Toronto provides a list of leisure skating opportunities in Toronto.

Skiing & snowboarding:

Although Ontario certainly doesn't have the greatest vertical drop compared to international ski resorts, but it does offer 41 resorts for downhill skiers and snowboarders at the Ski Ontario website.

Cross-country skiing & snowshoeing:

Ontario's more than 120 cross-country ski areas are rivalled only by Quebec for sheer number and variety. Ski areas are operated by various organizations ranging from parks to clubs and resorts. The Ski Ontario website provides an extensive listing of cross-country opportunities across Ontario.

Special offers for snowshoeing and cross-country getaways are featured on the Ontario Outdoor website.


Ontario offers more than 43,000 km (26,000 mi.) of maintained, interconnected, uncongested trails. It is the longest network of recreational trails in the world. The 248 member clubs of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs build and maintain this extensive trail network. Find more information about snowmobiling in Ontario in the Ontario Snowmobiler Magazine.


The north of Ontario is the heart of Ontario's iceclimbing country and features ice-clad routes with heights of more than 90 m. Special ice-climbing getaways are featured on the Ontario Outdoor Website.


Dog sledding has evolved from a utilitarian form of transport in northern countries to a unique travel experience. Some dogsledding operators have a guide drive the team, where at other places you may drive the sled yourself. The Ontario Outdoor Website features a variety of dog sledding adventures and getaways.

Urban Winter Getaways:

For those who want to enjoy the best that Ontario's cities have to offer over the winter time, there are a variety of special events going on. Many cities and towns throughout Ontario feature special winter festivals, starting with many festivals of light, tree lighting ceremonies and New Year's celebrations in November and December, and continuing with a variety of special events, trade fairs and restaurant promotions throughout January and February. The Success with Ontario website features a listing of Ontario's Festivals and events.

Major festivals include:

Toronto's WinterCity Festival and Winterlicious

Ottawa's Winterlude Winter Festival

Niagara's Icewine Festival

Ontario Accommodation Choices:

Ontario offers a wide variety of choices for getaways. From all-inclusive feature-packed resorts, to down-to-earth farm vacations, to cozy bed and breafasts, secluded cottages and chalets and inviting country inns, Ontario has a wide selection of accommodation providers. Unique boutique hotels, and centrally located urban hotels round out the accommodation offers. Ontario Travel's website offers a great overview of the accommodation choices available in Ontario.

There is plenty to do in the winter in Ontario, indoors and out. Nature lovers, urban explorers, adrenaline junkies, and romantic lovebirds will all find something to choose from to brighten up those cold winter days.

Food and drink specialities of brussels - what to eat drink during your stay in brussels

You could be forgiven for wanting to visit Brussels for the eating choices alone. The city centre has a sprawling medley of restaurants serving up fine cuisines and ales and no trip to Brussels is complete without visiting a speciality Belgian Chocolate Shoppe and stocking up on sweet treats for the journey home.

Food & Restaurants In Brussels

From the traditional Belgian & French fare in and around Grand Place to the more exotic ethnic options such as the enjoyable Italian fare offered by the string of restaurants in “Little Italy” (along rue Franklin), Brussels is choc-a-bloc with engaging dining opportunities.

Of course, we all know that Belgium is associated with Moules (mussels) et Frites (Chips) but it’s also regarded for a number of additional dishes that have been shaped by a variety of influences including the French, Spanish and Dutch who all ruled over the land at some point in History. In fact Belgians culinary history can be traced back to the middle ages.

You can enjoy starters such as Croquettes aux Crevettes Grises (shrimp) and Fondues au Fromage (a type of cheesy croquette). A speciality Belgian bread that is sweet is Choesels and Ardennes pate is a pate comprised largely of pork and garlic. Then there are main dishes such as Filet American (served minced and raw mixed with onions and several spices). The Belgians do enjoy their red meat and it can form the basis of many a meal. Ragout d’agneau is a braised lamb dish that’s marinated with herbs. Pheasant and rabbit are also used in some speciality dishes like Faisan a la Brabanconne and Lapin dishes.

Anguilles au vert is an eel based soup and Andouillette a type of sausage.

You may expect to see Brussels Sprouts somewhere – and you would be right (Choux de Bruxelles). Chicory is one of the most used vegetables in Belgian cuisine, featuring in foods such as Witloof where it’s wrapped in cheese and ham.

You can round things up with Damme Blanche – vanilla ice cream served with a thick chocolate sauce. Or opt for other sweet delights like Profiteroles or Tarte tartin (apple pie served with cream).

There’s no shortage of quality restaurants in Brussels – you can feast on fresh fish in the Lower Town, enjoy dinner at any one of the high-class offerings along rue Antoine Dansaert – in fact you can venture to practically any part of the city and be within five minutes of a good place to eat.

For Tradional Belgian Food…

For pleasant food at reasonable prices, Chez Leon in Grand Place delivers – As you may expect it offers the Moules et Frites type menu and children under the age of 12 eat free.

Similarly, Chez Patric (Rue des Chapeliers) is popular with the tourists who want to sample traditional Belgian fare as is Brasserie de la Roue d’Or which is on the same street. La Rose Blanche (Grand Place) is known for its stews or you can opt for La Brouette for grander Belgian fare.


Noted for its warm atmosphere and exquisite food, A’mbriana (Rue Edith Cavell) serves up quality Italian fare are reasonable prices. Nearer to Grand Place is Rugantino and Senso (rue Franklin) offers well presented food but is somewhat on the pricey side. Also along Franklin are Pappa e Citti and Napoli.


While Brussels has a fairly high number of Chinese & Vietnamese restaurants, Indian fare is not as widely available and one of the best options is La Porte des Indes Avenue Louise).

La Cantonnaise (rue Tenbosch) and Hong Hoa (rue du Pont la Carpe) are among the favoured Chinese options while La Citronnelle is an interesting Vietnamese restaurant along Chaussee de Wavre.


Tapas Locas (Grand Place) draws in a younger crowd and tends to be pretty good, cheap fare and Casa Manuel (also in Grand Place) is also a nice place which serves Portugese fare as well as Spanish.

Other International Restaurants

Le Forcado (Chaussee de Charleroi) is one of the few pure Portugese restaurants in Brussels. Along Rue des Grands-Carmes is Canita Cubana, which as you might suspect offers a wide range of Cuban cuisine. In the mood for African? Try Gri Gri located on Rue Basse.

Beers In Belgium

Belgium is the beer producing capital of the world, and offers a variety of hundreds of different beers. In fact, bars in Belgium often have a separate menu just for their beers. Depending on who you talk to, Belgium produces anywhere between 400 to 750 different varieties of beer.

Brussels also hosts the “Beer Weekend” which is on for three days every September. With reasonable beer prices and free entry, this is a must for beer lovers everywhere.

Some of the different types of beers include:

Blanche Beers – The most prolific blanche is Hoegaarden, which aside from being light in colour have a distinct citrus flavour and have a low alcohol content.

Trappist Beers – such as Chimay go back to the Middle Ages and are strong, yeasty beers with up to 11% alcohol.

Lambic Beers – are the most common in Brussels. Non-malted wheat beers, Lambics have around 5% alcohol strength. A derivative of Lambics are Gueuze beers which are a blend of Lambic beers. You’ll also come over Kriek beers which are Lambics that have a fruity flavour (very popular in summer).

If you’re really into your beer then consider a visit to Musee Bruxellois De La Gueuze – one of the best breweries in Belgium. Here you can take a tour of the beer production process (and taste a pint or two on the way).

It’s not just the staggering variety and flavours of beers that’s interesting in Brussels – equally, the ambience where you can enjoy your liquid nectar can and should be part of the whole Brussels experience. Having your pint in an old brown cafй or within one of the many historic Art Nouveau buildings is simply a joy to experience.

What to see in murcia spain

Murcia is the capital city of the Spain’s Murcia region and, clearly, also the name of the region. The city of Murcia is located on the Segura River in the south-eastern part of Spain. It was built near an area of valleys surrounded by mountains, known as the market garden of Murcia. It shares the coastline with nearby Torrevieja, Spain, another popular tourist destination along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition to the nearby beaches, there is a lot to see and do while in Murcia such as museums, cathedrals and festivals, for example. The Museum of Science and Water is a hands-on, interactive museum. All of the displays, experiments and demonstrations center around the theme of water. Occasional shows and exhibitions also revolve around this water theme. There is also a planetarium which kids will surely enjoy. Another popular Murcia sight to visit is the Cathedral of the Dioceses of Cartegena-Murcia. This cathedral contains a combination of different architectural styles including Gothic, Renaissance, Rococo and Baroque. The majority of the construction was done between 1394 and 1465 and, ultimately, finished in 1972. The Bishop’s palace, known as the Palacia Episcopal, is located near this cathedral. It was constructed during the eighteenth century and is home to the local bishop.

If you enjoy water, you will definitely not want to miss out on the beautiful beaches in the area. The climate is usually warm, sunny and perfect for an afternoon at the beach. The Mar Menor is a small sea separated from the Mediterranean Sea. Next to the river is a landscaped square called The Glorieta. This square is a great place to visit and enjoy a walk. It is also a great shopping area.

As with many areas on the Costa Blanca, several festivals are held in Murcia throughout the entire year. Most festivals and celebrations correspond with religious holidays, such as Christmas, the Festival of the Three Kings, Easter and many of the Catholic holy days. The Holy Week Processions are the most famous celebrations in the city of Murcia. Museum sculptures are paraded to represent the life of Christ through to the time of the crucifixion. Candle light processions are also popular at both the daytime and night processions.

Fortunately, there is an airport directly in the city providing for more convenient travel. The Murcia-San Javier airport is located approximately twenty-eight miles (45 kilometers) from Murcia. Though it is a smaller airport, most of the major carriers offer flights into Murcia from many European cities. When looking for a light, be sure to compare airfare prices for each carrier. The internet is a good place to search available flights, schedules and prices. It is a good idea to look at a few travel websites, as not all airlines are listed on all travel sites. You may also need to call some discount airlines directly to get the best deal possible. It may take some extra time, but the money saved may be worth it in the end.

Family and holiday fun on an rv road trip

Vacations are usually something most people save up for and plan carefully. The goal is to have a memorable, fun vacation and, oftentimes, to see and do as much as you can fit in. Vacations are not a time to waste money on unnecessary service or items, but rather a time to research your trip and plan to save as much money as you can. If this sounds like your approach to vacationing, you may want to consider a road trip and even better, RV vacation. Road trips are one of the best vacations in which saving money is easier, and RVs offer the most convenient transportation choice for travel on road trips. Here are a few simple steps to make your RV holiday one of the most memorable, fun and cheapest vacations you have taken.

RVs come in a variety of sizes you can purchase, and which one you should choose depends on the number of people traveling and the types of accommodations you desire. One of the benefits of an RV is that you will save money on lodging during ever trip. You will also be able to take more personal items from home when traveling in an RV as compared to traveling in your car.

If you are traveling with children, you will probably face the challenge of keeping them entertained during the trip. RVs offer much more room than a car allowing children to play, spread their wings and roam around a little if they get bored. Some RVs include DVD players so the kids can watch movies or even possibly hook up their video games to the television.

Investing in an RV for your vacationing needs will help cut the cost of lodging, which will provide you extra money for other things you come across during your trip. Basically, you can take your family with you on your new “home on wheels” whether you want to go on a quick mountain getaway or a trip to the beach.

With a little research on vacation in an RV, you will find that there are many scenic places you and your family can experience along the way to your ultimate destination. For example, a family of four can go camping for a week at a national park or state forest. Campground fees, which are usually charged per night, camping gear and miscellaneous travel expenses will more than likely keep you under a $1,000 budget. You can bond with you family enjoying the beautiful outdoors during the day and enjoy the amenities of the RV at night.

Yellowstone National Park is popular vacation spot for RVing families, and you will find that it has plenty of entertainment and activities for your family. There are may other campgrounds and RV parks available, though. You will find them all throughout Canada and the United States, all offering ideal vacations for your family. A little research and planning will have you on your way to an unforgettable RV vacation with your family!

Alaskan cruise reviews a trio of breath taking cruises

If you read a few Alaskan cruise reviews, you will begin to get an idea of the kind of majesty the Alaskan region has to offer. It is rare for a person to come back from an Alaskan cruise without a sense of the grandness of the place. The ships are different, though, and the itineraries cover different locations and sights.

Cruise West: Spirit of Alaska, Glacier Bay Highlights Cruise

Cruise West has a small ship called the Spirit of Alaska. It generally carries less than 75 passengers. Yet the food and the service from the crew members are phenomenal. The accommodations on the cruise were more than satisfactory. The time spent on deck was mostly spent admiring the gorgeous scenery.

The trip began and ended in Juneau, where visitors could see the sights of the city. You could also take a small flight over the Mendenhall Glacier from there. With that, you would get a preview of the landscapes yet to come.

Once the cruise began, there were many views to see. The Idaho Inlet, Glacier Bay and other significant spots were on the itinerary. You could see spectacular mountain views and abundant wildlife. Some of the wildlife included humpback whales, puffins, brown and black bears, otters, eagles, and dolphins. This cruise was well worth taking.

Empress of the North

You will find abundant Alaskan cruise reviews done on the Empress of the North cruise ship. Although the ship is built to convey an atmosphere of luxury, it is up to the task of seeking adventure as well.

There is magnificent art work on the ship. The food is every bit as good as any gourmet food a luxury ship can offer. There are lectures by people who know the Arctic region, and entertainment for you to enjoy. The accommodations are roomy, with queen beds and balconies in many rooms. The shore excursions are also well-planned and well-executed.

Safari Quest: Alaska’s Inside Passage Cruise

There is nothing about the Inside Safari Quest ship that can compare to the spectacular views of the Inside Passage. A ranger is assigned to the ship as a guide to describe the wildlife and surroundings. You will not go away from the Safari Quest cruise without knowing something new about nature in Alaska.

The trip starts in Glacier Bay National Park, and goes on to Boulder Island after that. Next come North Sandy Cove and Gloomy Knob. Outside Tidal Inlet, you can see glaciers before going on to stop at Lamplugh. Reid Inlet is one of the most interesting places to take a walk. Bartlett Cove and Jacks Cove are part of the trip with wildlife and scenery to be seen all the way.

Finding these three Alaskan cruise reviews is easy. Choosing a cruise to take may be much more difficult. After you take one Alaskan cruise you might just decide that you want to take them all. Most of the Alaskan cruises you will find will be enjoyable. You only need to find the best ship to take.

Ann(at)bestcruiseguideonline. com

Overview of ferries

Since antiquity, man has encountered streams and rivers barring his path and has found ways to cross them. Some of the time, with time, manpower, and material available, he was able to build bridges. If it wasn't possible to make them for whatever reason, he found other means of surmounting the obstacle. Sometimes, it meant a long detour to skirt or avoid the water or to find a suitable fording place. Other times it meant using watercraft to take him from one bank to the other. Without the use of ferries, it would've been much harder to get from one place to another - even to the afterlife, as the legend of the Underworld ferryman Charon and the river Styx tells us.

Throughout history, many types of watercraft have been used to ferry people from one place to another. These ranges from the coracle, an ancient circular boat which is still used in some parts of the world, to huge double-hulled catamarans, mechanical marvels which displace more than 70,000 metric tons which are able to take on board thousands of passengers and their vehicles and travel for hundreds of miles in speed, comfort, and safety. With the development of aviation and the rise of fuel prices, the age of the fast transoceanic liners is long gone, but the shorter-range ferry is still a very important mode of transportation throughout the world, whether it be across a river in India or from across a sea, from one country to another. For example, in Sydney, Australia, the inter-harbor ferries carry some 18 million passengers every year.

Ferry Power

The level of available technology has always dictated what sources of motive power were used in ferries. The first ferries used either muscle power in the form of a rower or punter or were pulled across a short distance by a rope or chain. Many of these cable or free ferries are still in use worldwide.

Sail power was also used. When the steam engine was invented, it was also pressed into service, and the first steam ferry began shuttling passengers between New York City and Hoboken in 1811. By the end of the nineteenth century, propeller-powered ships were replacing paddle steamers. Waterscrews were easier to operate and maintain.

Because of the limitations inherent in the reciprocating steam engine, the turbine gradually replaced it. It was during and after World War II that the steam turbine's eventual replacement, the oil-fired engine, was developed to maturity, becoming so successful that by 1960 no more steam-driven ships were being built. Oil-powered engines eliminated the heat losses all steam engines have and are able to burn cheaper, lower-quality fuel. Because of rising fuel costs and environmental concerns, today's ferry designers are looking to alternative power sources to drive tomorrow's ships such as hybrid engines, wind, and solar energy.

Types of Ferries

There are several main types of ferry. Water taxis and buses ply carry passengers over short routes, such as in harbors like Hong Kong, Sydney, Bristol, Osaka; and Roll-On Roll-Off ferries, or ROROs, are so called because they have a car deck and ramps which open and enable vehicles to simply drive onto and off them. Double-ended ferries are a variation on this, with identical bow and stern sections which free the ferry from needing to turn around after docking. Hydrofoils, hovercraft, and catamarans are also used as ferries because of the high speeds they are capable of reaching. Cruiseferries are large ships combining features present on cruise ships and car transporters.

How will the weather be in spain on your vacation

Torrevieja weather is near perfect with both warm temperatures and sun all year long. The weather in this area, and along the Costa Blanca is considered to be extrememly healthy actually, with the World Health Organization naming it one of the healthiest places in the world to live.

This areas climate is typical of most Mediterranean climates. The summer is hot and mostly dry. The winters are basically mild and moderate in temperature, and it seldom snows. The spring and autumn have much of the same, mild and warm weather.

During the spring, on the Costa Blanca of Spain, the weather is mostly warm and the days mostly sunny. It rains very little, and the average temperature throughout the season ranges from 55 to about 70 degrees.

If you want to avoid the crowds that the summer months bring, then the warm temps of the spring make this about the perfect time to go. This way, you’re vacation isn’t burdened by the over crowding while you enjoy the beautiful environment that the area has to offer.

Of course that being understood, the summer still remains the most popular time to visit Torrevieja and the Costa Blanca. The summer is actually longer and hotter than most others in Spain, with average temperatures ranging from 70 to 80, with little to no rain, and nearly constant sunny days.

During the autumn and winter the rainfall is quite a bit lower than the rest of Spain. Usually you’ll see the most rain in the late autumn and winter months, but even that is minimal and irregular compared to the rest of the country.

The average annual rainfall varies quite a bit from year to year, with a average of between 250 and 600mm, which you can see is quite difference. The total rainfall however usually only happens on very few days of the year at all. You may get a lot on those days however, sometimes up to 100 mm in one day.

The sunnier days of autumn usually brings nice warm temperatures, with averages ranging from between 50 to 70 degrees, which some deem as quite the perfect weather, especially for the days that you may be walking around and sightseeing. But, planning during these months is hardly predictable and can lead to disappointment due to rain.

Oddly enough, the winters are actually a better time to visit than the autumn, with mild winters of 50 to 60 degrees in the weather, but with little rainfall, and very rare snow. You will see some rainfall, but for the most part the weather is favorable.

So as you plan your vacation, keep these different seasons in mind, and know what your agenda and wants are for your vacation. Are you one who enjoys extreme heat and love to lounge on the beach for this weather, or are you someone who will be walking and sightseeing, where you may want to opt for a bit cooler weather. Either way, there’s enough perfect weather to go around for everyone.

Finding the right purse

We fail to realize that bags are an important factor to complete a look. The style, type, size and shape of your bag can either complement your outfit or better yet make it look horrible. Buying a purse is just like buying clothes. You have to ensure that it fits your body type. You have to be certain that it matches with the clothes you have in mind.

Generally, when we buy purses we always have to consider its size first and foremost. Before buying it, it is important to have tried on the bag. If you are buying the bag to match with an outfit for a special occasion, wearing the outfit or bringing it with you would be a big help to make sure in getting the right fit and to make certain that it will definitely go well with your total look.

In choosing a bag, always think of proportion. If you are small or petite, choose purses that are just right for your size. If you use oversized bags, it will just emphasize more your being small. Smaller bags will work best for you.

If you are heavy on the bottom, you need to draw the attention away from it. Shoulder bags or Hobo bags would go well for women having this type of figure.

If you are heavy on top, you want to draw attention away from either your chest or bulging stomach. A messenger bag or handbag would be perfect for people conscious of their tummies. Slightly large bags with long straps should also do the trick.

For those with an hourglass figure almost any bag would suit your body type. Just avoid bags that are either too small or too big. What works best for you would definitely be a shoulder bag that just sits right at the waist for it helps accentuates your figure.

For plus size women avoid bags that are small. This will just emphasize more your heavy stature. Go for styles that are bigger and wider.

If you are tall and lean, well then you are very lucky indeed. This body type can very well have any purse because whatever be its size or style it will definitely look good on her.

If you are interested in looking for bags that suits your body type, visit http://www. ebags. com. They have a wide variety of choices to choose from like shoulder bags and hobos and they offer authentic designer bags as well. They even offer items that are on sale with free shipping.

Check out alicante and torrevieja as a great sidetrip

You can expect lovely weather all year round in Alicante, Spain. The Alicante weather is a mild Mediterranean one, which means the summers are hot and dry and the winters are mild and pleasant. The weather makes this spot a popular vacation spot for Spaniards and foreigners alike. The geography of the region helps with this weather phenomenon. Since there are large mountains and some hills in the north this provides protection from the northerly winds. This helps keep the winters mild. If you are looking for a great vacation spot then both summer and winter are excellent options.

If you are visiting Alicante in the Summer or Spring you can expect an average high of 22-26 degrees Celsius, but don’t be surprised if you catch a few days that can reach up to 40 degrees. At nighttime the low is around 17 degrees. Since you get almost 12 hours of sunshine during the summer this makes Alicante a great place to get a tan! There is hardly any rain at all during the summer.

This sunny weather makes summer the most popular time for a trip to Costa Blanca. You can enjoy the beaches with this lovely weather, as well as partake in a wide variety of water sports. Take a side trip to Torrevieja too. On the flip side you do need to be aware of the influx of tourists during this season.

The spring is a great option for you if you want to enjoy Alicante without as many tourists. You can still hit the beach without extreme heat. You will also avoid the crowds that can ruin a peaceful vacation.

The spring is rainier than the winter, but still sunny most of the time. Usually the temperature ranges between 14 and 19 degrees Celsius. You can expect a nighttime range of 8 to 13 degrees. There are usually about 7 hours of daylight in early spring, but it gets up to 10 hours of light per day during the later part of spring.

If you don’t mind the rain then go to Alicante during fall. In the earliest part of autumn there is not much rain and the weather is still quiet warm. You could still hit up the beach and avoid the crowds if you go there during autumn. You should make sure that your vacation destination has a year round economy so that things are open wherever you choose to vacation if you go during the fall.

These areas are also popular during the wintertime, especially for people come from Northern Europe and other colder climates. Since snow is very rare in this region, it is a welcome escape for people from anywhere from London to Stockholm.

During the winter you can expect an average temperature of 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. At night you can expect the temperature to go down around 5 to 8 degrees. There are seven hours of daylight in the wintertime, but the temperature is the particular appeal.

Orvieto umbria

Orvieto, Italy is set upon a veranda of a picturesque cliff with walls that drop straight down into the valley below, creating a majestic setting for an ancient and protected Medieval town. The entire town of Orvieto places you back in time to Medieval times through the beautiful and unique artistry of the buildings, the view, and the atmosphere that is still prevalent today.

The birth of Orvieto dates back to the Etruscan civilization going back to around the 9th century. Inside the tufaceous caves, several artifacts were found to prove the fact that the city itself was built during that time.

By the third century B. C., Orvieto was annexed to the territories of Rome in which it remained under the control of Rome until its decline. At that time, Orvieto became a free municipality and saw battles with those wishing to conquer the area such as Guelphs and Ghibellines. Orvieto stayed faithful to the Pope through all the wars. With the support of Papal State, it began to prosper and by the 13th century was a very popular town in the area. During the 13th century, it had received the constitution of the General Council of the 400 and the election of the Captain of the People.

During this time, several buildings were erected including many holy buildings and palaces, many of which are still standing today. The Cathedral is one of the most popular, which was erected in 1263. The Cathedral is an excellent example of Gothic design and artistry.

In Orvieto, you will enjoy many other wonderful and unique buildings from the same period including St. Patrizio well. The St. Patrizio well was created in 1527 erected from the design of Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane. Other buildings around Orvieto that should not be overlooked include Saint Giovenale's Church built during the 11th century, the Palace of People Captain built during the 12th century, Saint Andrew's Church from the 12th century, Saint Domenic's Church from the 12th century, Soliano Palace erected in 1262, the Palace of the Seven from 1300, and the Mancinelli Theatre built in 1866.

How to shop for food on holiday in italy

So you've booked a self-catering holiday in Italy on a farm in Tuscany or by a beach in Liguria? Enjoy exploring the flavours of Italy with this basic guide to help you enjoy food shopping as part of your holiday experience.

Traditionally Italians shop every day for what they want to eat that day, as freshness is a big concern to them. You won't find huge fridges in most Italian kitchens, so decide every day as you shop, what you want to eat that day, according to what looks freshest and most appetising in the shops. The shop keepers are quite used to selling just two slices of perfectly sliced prosciutto, or a small piece of pecorino cheese. You can of course just head to a supermarket and fill your trolley for the week, but shopping the traditional way in all the little shops is an experience not to be missed and you will gain more cultural understanding this way, than any amount of museum visiting will provide.

Follow your nose first to the Forno, for crusty white bread, rolls and salty focaccia, a soft olive oil pizza bread cut into squares, that the school children often stop by for as a morning snack. Pane integrale is wholewheat bread and becoming more easily available. If you don't acquire the taste for the traditional, unsalted bread you can ask for pane salata - salted bread, which is sometimes available as a speciality bread.

Next drop by the fruttaverdura - the greengrocers. Italy has a wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables and you will find whatever is in season and at its best. Italians are distrustful of imported food, the more locally grown the better, so most of what is on offer won't have been subjected to cold storage and other indignities. May brings strawberries and cherries piled high and bright. Peaches and nectarines follow with melons of all varieties. By the time you reach autumn these have been succeeded by heaps of glistening grapes, luscious figs and juicy pears. Watch the local signoras carefully selecting their fruit and veg and you will get an idea of what is at its best and what should be left another week until it is truly in season, ripe and delicious.

The alimentari now - the general grocers store. You will probably be following the same group of signoras from shop to shop as they do their morning round. Everything is here, from tins piled high, to packets of pasta, with a counter of cheeses and salamis to be sliced to your requirements. You can ask for two slices of prosciutto crudo - cured ham, thinly sliced or buy sliced meats and cheeses by the etto - a generally used term for 100g (about 3oz). If you want to have a taste before you decide to purchase, just ask and a sliver of cheese will be passed over the counter for you to pronounce judgement on. There will also be containers of herby olives and sundried tomatoes to buy by weight. Bottles of mineral water and wine will rub shoulders in a corner.

For a treat stop by the pasticceria for a tray of delicious creamy pastries, which will be wrapped in paper and ribbon until they are worthy of the Christmas tree.

Now head off for a picnic lunch in an olive grove with your spoils, or treat yourself to a long lunch in a restaurant and keep your shopping for a delicious, no-cooking, light supper on the terrace of your apartment.

Copyright 2007 Kit Heathcock

Finding rome vacation rental online a guide

Rome, Italy is not for the faint of heart. It is a city bursting to the seams with life. It is home to roughly 2,900,000 people, locals and tourists alike, and it overflows with more art, culture, history, and style than any other city in the world.

If you are planning to visit Rome, you must remember one very simple but valuable advice. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Live in a Roman home. This will help make your stay more memorable. Rome vacation rental homes allow you to experience authentic Roman living cheaply yet comfortably. Moreover, it lets you experience first-hand the lifestyle, sights, and sounds that you traveled continents to witness. Rome is, after all, known for its great architecture, and what could be more representative of architecture than the Rome vacation rentals offered in different neighborhoods?

In finding the Rome vacation rental that fits both your budget and your expectations, your best bet is to find sites online. This may sound easy, but once you start trawling the web, you will find that this is actually a very confusing and time-consuming activity. There are just too many sites online that offer Rome vacation rental cheaply and conveniently. Most sites are a waste of time. Some try to be helpful, but provide very little helpful information.

So, what do you look for in sites that offer Rome vacation rental?

Good Search Functionality

The first is advanced search functionality. Do not spend time clicking the links on a website, unless it provides easy navigation and quick access to advance search functionality. A good website allows you to customize your search, look for the property and amenities you want, and make your selection accordingly.

Excellent Graphic Presentation

The second thing to look for is pictures. A good website will provide you with clear photos of the Rome vacation rental available for tourists like you. Presentation sells. Why book a place halfway around the world when you are not even sure whether it's a villa or a stall?


Security is always a paramount concern, especially in online transactions. Do not plunk down money for any accommodation without first reading reviews or making inquiries. For all you know, your landlord might be a cantankerous old man who forces tenants to eat his homemade pizza and threaten them with rent increase if they don't.

Forthright Price Information

Only the village idiot would rent a property without first asking for the price. While many websites offering Rome vacation rental are coy about pricing, there are also many others that are not. One example is http://holiday4you. com. So, be sure to do your research on average costs first. It's an absolute no-no to rent a vacation home without first checking out its price.

A good website is one that combines all four features. It must have good search functionality, graphic presentation, security, and price information. After all, while imagination is good, it will not help you plan your dream vacation in that beautiful place touted as the City of Lights.

Hello from nova scotia a drive along the lighthouse trail from yarmouth to shelburne

My quick one-night stopover in Yarmouth had provided me with great insight into local history and architecture. In an interview with two local hospitality entrepreneurs I also learned about the heritage tourism opportunities in southwestern Nova Scotia. Barely an hour into the drive I unintentionally orchestrated my own travel adventure by actually driving into the ditch and a few local residents immediately rescued me from my predicament.

After all this excitement I was back on the road and enjoying my drive eastwards. The weather improved from a cool drizzle to overcast skies, and it was looking like I might even get some blue skies later today. The Lighthouse Trail hugs the southern Nova Scotia shoreline while Highway 103 pursues a straighter trajectory inland. In order to make it on time to my stop in Shelburne and to today’s final destination of Lunenburg, I followed the inland route with the occasional side-trip to the waterfront.

Straight south from Yarmouth is a peninsula with a town called Wedeport at the end. This is the location of la Butte-de-la-Croix, a site that commemorates the first mass after the return of the Acadians, held in 1769. Acadians were expelled in several waves by the English between 1755 and 1763 and deported to numerous destinations across eastern North America, the Caribbean and even back to France during an extended period of ethnic cleansing. Some of the French Acadian settlers returned to Nova Scotia, and the Wedgeport location in particular is a symbol of Acadian courage and perseverance.

East of Wedgeport are the Tusket Islands, about 365 islands, peninsulas, inlets and bays that make up an intended coastline. The Bay of Fundy’s tides have a big impact on this area, and salt water travels 24 km kilometers (15 miles) upriver on tides that are about 4 metres (13 feet high). The islands vary in size from a few meters to half a kilometer in length. This area was first settled by Acadian French settlers and to this day French dialects and customs survive in this area. Today there are thousands of “shanties”, small tiny cottages, while in the past this area also featured large fish factories and lobster canneries. Sea kayakers looking for bird-watching and island hopping opportunities love this area.

The Pubnico region comprises three different sections: West Pubnico, with an almost exclusively French-speaking population, Pubnico proper with primarily Anglophone residents, and East Pubnico, again occupied mostly by French speakers. French Acadian settlements go back to about 1614. Today, the local population mostly makes a living from the fishing industry, which includes first and foremost lobster, scallops, herring, haddock and cod. Not only is Pubnico considered to be the oldest village which, in Acadia, is still occupied by the Acadians, but it is also the oldest village in Canada still occupied by the descendants of its founder. Since February of 2005 renewable energy is being produced at Pubnico Point. 17 interconnected wind turbines generate about 100 GWh a year.

Further east along the shoreline is Cape Sable Island, the most southerly point in Atlantic Canada. This small, low sandy island is the location of about 1800 recorded shipwrecks since 1676. It took until 1861 for the first light house to be constructed on Sable Island, and in 1876 a steam-whistle fog alarm was added. Even since then ships continue to run aground in this foggy, harsh marine environment, but the loss of life has been low.

The next major town along Highway 103 is Barrington which also claims to be the Lobster Capital of Canada. The area around Barrington features a variety of fishing villages, museums and heritage buildings. Not far outside Barrington a major mystery awaits: just southwest of the town is the Shag Harbour UFO sighting area, location of a purported UFO crash on October 4, 1967. At least eleven people reported seeing a low-flying lit object heading towards the harbour, accompanied by a whistling and then a crashing sound when the object hit the water. A search and rescue operation did not turn up any evidence of a crash, and no aircraft were reported missing. A secretive military expedition discovered some foam-like debris, and one military witness stated that there were actually two objects, one possibly trying to assist the other. To this day the Shah Harbour UFO Crash is an unsolved mystery.

The town of Barrington itself features a recently constructed walking trail along the bay. The Barrington Woolen Mill, dating back to 1882, was an active mill until 1962 when it ceased production and became a museum in 1968. Wool sheared from sheep who were grazed on the various surrounding islands were processed in this turbine-driven mill that saved Nova Scotian women endless time in terms of washing, spinning and weaving wool at home.

My drive continued inland towards Shelburne, my next destination. Shelburne was first settled in the spring of 1783 when 5000 settlers, United Empire Loyalists, arrived here from the middle colonies in America. By 1784, the town was the fourth largest in all of North America, larger than Halifax, Montreal or Quebec City. Fishing, shipbuilding and the lumber industry formed the economic mainstays of the area. Many descendants of these Loyalists still live in the area today.

Black Loyalists also settled in this area when the Royal Governor of Virginia awarded freedom to any slave who would escape from a rebel slave master and fight alongside the British Loyalists. More than 300 Blacks joined the Loyalist forces and formed the Ethiopian Regiment. In total about 100,000 slaves took refuge behind British lines.

In 1782 when Americans were winning the war, the British prepared to depart. During this time some Blacks were recaptured while others resettled in Florida, the West Indies and Canada (or rather British North America, as it was called at the time). The largest group of Black settlers, about 3500 people, were transported to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Birchtown, just a few kilometers west of Shelburne, became the largest settlement of free Blacks outside of Africa. However, of 649 families only 184 received the promised crown land grants.

The Black Loyalist Heritage Society Museum in Birchtown commemorates the Black Loyalist settlers who founded the largest free Black settlement in all of North America. Unfortunately the museum was closed when I travelled through the area. However, I did have a chance to explore some of the Shelburne area's other museums. This small town has a large museum complex on the waterfront which forms one of the best natural harbours in the world. I drove down on Main Street which features Victorian architecture as well as a large Romanesque Revival building constructed in 1908 from local granite which used to be the Post Office and Customs House. Coming down Ann Street I noticed a well that was located right in the middle of the road, an example of the community wells that were typical in this area.

Then I headed down to Dock Street on the Waterfront, formerly the centre of Shelburne’s commercial activity. I was immediately struck by a large wooden structure, dating back to 1902 which used to be the store and warehouse of George A. Cox, a prominent merchant who built his own vessels. Tucked in behind it is Guild Hall, a set from the move “A Scarlett Letter”. This building was constructed to reflect 17th century architecture.

Along the waterfront is the John C. Williams Dory Shop, a working museum that demonstrates the craft of dory building. Dories were small wooden fishing boats that were very popular in the around the turn of the 20th century and were purchased by Nova Scotian and American fishing captains. This shop dates back to 1880, and in its heyday five to seven men produced 350 dories a year.

On the other side of the street is the restored Ross-Thomson House and Store. George and Robert Ross were merchants, trading pine boards, codfish and pickled herrings for salt, tobacco, molasses and dry goods. The store actually closed in the 1880s, was restored to its 1820s condition and today operates as a museum. I took a quick tour through the Ross-Thomson House which provides a good idea of the living conditions of the early Loyalist settlers.

Right in this complex is the Shelburne County Museum which houses one of the oldest fire pumpers in all of North America. It also features exhibits on shipbuilding and local Loyalist history. History buffs can access newspapers and court records from the 18th to the 20th century, all saved on microfilm, and genealogy records of Shelburne County families are also available.

Shelburne is a very scenic town with numerous unusual heritage buildings located on the waterfront and on various other streets leading up from the water. I wish I had had a bit more time to explore this town, but my schedule was getting tight. I wanted to continue on eastwards along the Lighthouse Trail to make sure I arrived before sunset so I would be able to see the town of Lunenburg before dark, one of Nova Scotia’s favourite destinations.

Vacation with the kids

In this world full of problems and challenges, we can’t avoid but feel stressed almost every day of our lives. Everyday we are faced with the troubles of rising prices, unending bills, lack of money, problems at work and for some even personal problems. Then, we go home to take care of the household and kids who are always giving us a headache. We easily get angry and irritated and we realize we need to breakaway from the tension and we declare to ourselves, “I need a vacation.”

But then you can’t just leave your kids behind now can you? Yes, you need a break and you plan on leaving them behind with your parents. You don’t want them tagging along for they will only pester and cause you problems. But shouldn’t you be taking this opportunity to spend some time with them and get to know them? Before you know it they may be all grown up and you have missed the chance of spending quality time with them.

Bring your children along with you when you go on a vacation. When you are on vacation with your kids, don’t just leave them to enjoy among themselves the different activities and then you and your spouse just go about your way also. It is during this time that you are given the chance to have the time of day to bond with your kids and improve your relationship with them.

I advise that you do activities together with them. Take an active part during their play time. Play with them. If you are staying at some resort for example, take the time to swim with them or better yet teach them how to swim. Make sand castles with them by the sea shore. Engage in some sports like maybe tennis or volleyball or better yet teach them a game of golf. They are never too young to learn something new. Take the time to talk with them and find out what they like to do. Allocate playing time with your kids.

Your children may be hard headed at times and may tend not to listen to your scolding. Since you are on vacation give them a break too. If their actions are unbearable don’t embarrass your kids by reprimanding them in front of other people. Instead try talking to them when no one is around and make them understand why their actions are unacceptable.

Take the opportunity to get close with your kids and bringing them along on your vacations will strengthen more the special relationship that you have with them.

Where to find last minute caribbean travel deals

Have you ever tried booking or reserving a Caribbean travel deal only to find that it’s full already? This happens sometimes if you do your booking and reservations at the last minute. As a rule, you ought to book your vacation well ahead of time to make sure that you can still get that deal you want. But what if you’re one of those busy persons who barely even have time for themselves? In such a case, a last minute rule is in order.

We know how hard it can be to plan a trip. There are so many factors that you have to concern yourself with, least of which is the budget and your actual vacation time. Below are some great tips to help you get that last minute Caribbean travel deal without messing up your budget or your schedule:

Hotel Riu Paradise Island

The Hotel Riu in Paradise Island in the Bahamas is another great last minute Caribbean travel resort with its fantastic building facilities (including a “Colony” lobby bar, “Calypso” lounge bar with terrace, and “Atlantic” Restaurant with non-smoking section and terrace), and other facilities. The main grounds of the hotel are dominated by a 300sq. m. swimming pool with an adjoining Jacuzzi, while all around it are complimentary lounge chairs, towels, and umbrellas.

Enjoy one of their 379 guestrooms with their last minute Caribbean travel bargains startin gat $521 per person double occupancy. But hurry and book now. This last minute Caribbean travel discount only runs from April through June and all bookings must be made by March.

Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort & Casino

For a perfect island destination, the Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort & Casino offers the charm of the Dutch Caribbean, a magnificent beach, glittering casino, and a host of outdoor pleasures. Nestled on the soft, white sands of Aruba’s Palm Beach and surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens, this resort offers you a chance to enjoy that last minute Caribbean travel vacation with their new 2006 deals.

The Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort & Casino offers you rooms where you can relax and enjoy the delightful extras offered, including satellite television, refrigerator, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a private balcony with a spectacular view. For activities, this last minute Caribbean travel resort provides plenty of opportunity for sailing, wind surfing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and golf. Not only that, but after a refreshing swim in the ocean, you can simply relax and drift in the gorgeous seaside pool near it.

For their Spring Sale, Wyndham Aruba Beach Resort & Casino offers superior rooms for $634 per person double occupancy, and a $100 food and beverage credit for five nights or more.

The Fairmont Southampton – Bermuda

Imagine: lush tropical gardens, shimmering pink sand beaches, azure blue seas, and spectacular sunsets…. This is Bermuda. Royally perched on the island’s highest point, the Fairmont Southampton overlooks lush acres of land, pink sandy beaches and bountiful gardens. With its old world British charm blended so well with the new spirit of Bermuda, this last minute Caribbean travel resort offers just the right mix for the island-hopper.

As you can see, there are plenty of places to check out when looking for last minute Caribbean travel deals on the Internet, you just need to know where to look.

Discover the real florida

The following guide has been written for those who are interested in going on holiday to Florida. Whether you seek the fun and fantasy of Walt Disney World®, great shopping and dining, or recreation and relaxation on fantastic beaches, Florida, the ‘Sunshine State’, has it all!

Kissimmee & Orlando

The Kissimmee resort area lies at the heart of the ‘Sunshine State’, with the highest concentration anywhere of theme parks and attractions. The choice of entertainment is practically endless. Walt Disney World’s® four parks - The Magic Kingdom®, Epcot® , Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom™ - as well as Universal Studios® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure® and Sea World are all fabulous theme parks you won’t want to miss. Each park is wonderfully unique, providing fun and adventure which is sure to delight visitors of every age!

The action is virtually non-stop, with the parks open late and a nightlife that is equally unique and entertaining. In the Summer months you can even spend a balmy evening at a water fun park like Wet ‘nWild® or Typhoon Lagoon. There is a wide choice of good quality restaurants often with an all you can eat buffet, as well as a full range of fast food places. You can combine dinner with entertainment at one of the themed dinner attractions in the area. In case you find free time on your hands, you can ‘shop till you drop’ in one of the enormous malls or factory outlets. The bargains are great!

The Florida Suncoast

Central to the Suncoast are the communities of St Pete Beach, Madeira Beach, Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. These are uncrowded beach resorts close to a host of activities that make for a perfect beach holiday. The beach and sea are the areas’ greatest attractions, but tourist attractions are plentiful, giving you the opportunity to do as little or as much as you please. For years visitors from all over the world have enjoyed Busch Gardens, the Salvador Dali Museum and Sunken Gardens, among the many fun and interesting places within easy reach. Sports enthusiasts will delight in the range of activities whether you are a participator or a spectator: fishing, boating, golf, tennis and baseball to name just a few. The proximity of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Tampa offers an even wider choice of places to explore, restaurants to enjoy and shops to discover. The restaurants range from the deliciously sophisticated to the irresistibly informal, from fresh lobster to pizza and beer! Madeira Beach has outstanding fishing and is particularly famous for John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk - a unique collection of shops, boutiques and restaurants built on the water. From here you can hire boats for the day (or forever!). Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach are the ‘friendly island’ towns with a welcoming and laid back Florida lifestyle.

Sarasota Area

The Sarasota/Bradenton area is easily accessible from Orlando. The area contains some lovely beaches, local shops and good family restaurants. The Sarasota area offers botanical gardens, fine museums, performing arts, world class golf courses, upmarket shopping, boating and other watersports - there is something for everyone!

Anna Maria Island is a peaceful seaside community with no high rise hotels, lovely sandy beaches and turquoise-blue Gulf waters. You can even enjoy the serene beauty from the island’s delightful beachfront dining facilities. A perfect year round location for families and couples.

At the southern end of the Sarasota area is the island of Siesta Key. Siesta Key’s award winning beaches are officially recognised as having the most pristine, powdery white sands in the world. No sand is quite like it; even under the burning subtropical sun, it feels cool to the touch! To the visitors who flock here each year, the enchantment is many-fold: miles of wide white walking beach, elegant gourmet restaurants, a quaint village with resident artists and interesting shops, and an island ambience all of its own.

South of Sarasota lies unspoilt Manasota Key. With an average year-round temperature of 75єF and the sea nearly always in the 80’s, it is not surprising that those who have discovered one of Florida’s best kept secrets have not been in a hurry to tell others! You will often see dolphins at play just off the beach and logger-head turtles in the sand. Collect shells, take a relaxed dip in the sea and watch the sun go down. The small charming seaside town of Venice is just minutes away.

The Englewood area offers a choice of restaurants and shopping. Fabulous Boca Grande Island with its excellent beaches and quaint village is closeby. The area’s smaller keys such as Palm Island and Little Gasparilla have regular ferry services and tempt you to try a real desert island day out.

Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach

Sanibel and Captiva islands are a vacationers’ paradise, enjoying an average yearly temperature of 82єF. The area is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico to the south and west. This unique position makes the area a mecca for seashell collectors. The only ‘main’ road on Sanibel is Periwinkle Way which winds its way through the centre of the crescent shaped island lined with trees and bike paths. Biking is a must on Sanibel. The “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel is a 5000 acre preservation area which can be enjoyed via a scenic biking, walking or driving route. Two public golf courses, tennis, boat rentals and charters are readily available. At the south end of Periwinkle Way are clusters of shops and boutiques tucked unobtrusively among tropical landscaping and offering a most delightful melange of clothing, souvenirs, arts and crafts.

Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island is 7 miles of sugar sand beach-front along the inviting Gulf of Mexico. The gentle sloping shoreline, calm waters and relaxed atmosphere make Fort Myers Beach a favourite with families. The location is also ideal for a day trip to the Everglades or a visit to the secluded islands of nearby Sanibel and Captiva. The town of Fort Myers is a short drive away and offers many golf courses, shopping malls and attractions including the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Back on the beach enjoy sporting activities such as cycling, tennis or boating, or take a leisurely stroll at sunset on the crystal-white sandy beach. Dine at restaurants right on the beach, where fresh local seafood awaits you or enjoy the casual atmosphere of the many eateries and bars.

Naples and Marco Island

Naples is a great aprиs-theme-park escape for the discerning visitor to Florida. Just 3 1/2 hours drive from Orlando and 11⁄2 hours drive from Miami, its sweeping Gulf beaches are just a stones throw from the Everglades. The superb Naples lifestyle is still relatively unknown to visitors, but a visit here will reveal why so many people want to return again and again. Every corner of Naples holds an image of tropical bliss, from swaying palm trees and technicolour sunsets to landscaped communities and sparkling waterways. Naples is known for its upmarket shopping. Both 3rd Street South and the Village of Venetian Bay offer a unique cluster of speciality shops, open air cafes and restaurants. Cultural pursuits include a resident Philharmonic orchestra, theatres and first-rate art galleries and museums. Other entertainment includes the Pier, Jungle Larry’s Zoological Gardens, Collier Automotive Museum, and even a Teddy Bear Museum! For those who are passionate about golf, you’ll find paradise on a par with the unparalleled lifestyle.

Situated at the corner of the Sunshine State is Marco Island, the largest of the ‘Ten Thousand Islands’ and a gateway to the Everglades. Just six miles long and four miles wide, the island has over three miles of beautiful white sandy beach and waterways reaching into every corner of its inland landscape. Marco Island simply surrounds you with opportunities: over thirty golf courses conveniently closeby, close to seventy restaurants, the Everglades National Park, a historic trail with charming boutiques, factory outlet shopping and an endless range of watersports.

Florida Keys and Key West

The Florida Keys, Highway 1 ‘The Overseas Highway’ and forty-two bridges connect this string of coral rock islands. Bounded on the east by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Gulf Stream and on the west by the tranquil Florida Bay and the outlying fringes of the Everglades, the Keys enjoy the second largest coral reef system in the world. The reef protects the Keys and is the reason why there are no sandy beaches on these islands. America’s foremost underwater parks - John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the adjacent Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary - cover approximately 178 nautical square miles and are the area’s star attractions. You must see and experience the wondrous enchantment of the ancient coral landscape, home to an extensive variety of fish and undersea life, either as a shallow water snorkeller or a deep-water scuba diver. Dive shops, guides, charters and equipment in the Upper Keys are abundant.

133 miles from the southernmost tip of the Florida mainland is Key West an island where the famous and infamous alike come to enjoy a lifestyle with a European flavour and an all-American flair. Key West is home to poets, writers, artists and craftsmen all lured by its special way of life. Stay in Key West and leave your car parked. Key West is a town that never seems to sleep, but instead seems to come alive as the sun goes down. Each evening jugglers, musicians and street artists convene on the Mallory Dock for the Sunset Celebration. The streets are filled with sidewalk cafes, open-air bars, legendary pubs and world-class restaurants. Discover Duval Street, ‘the longest street’ in America because it stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico! Here you will find the world famous Sloppy Joe’s, Rick’s Cafe and the home of the Pina Colada. The nightlife is exceptional with theatre, cabaret, and so many dining experiences from fresh seafood to Cuban cuisine.

South East Florida

Palm Beach offers a rich variety of water pleasures, which include boating, fishing, snorkelling and deep-sea diving, and features more than 150 golf courses. On the western border lies the Everglades, a truly unique ecosystem. Enjoy a quiet al fresco lunch in Palm Beach itself and watch the rich and famous go by. Palm Beach, charming and elegant, is located entirely on a barrier island and is home to the historical mansions of some of the world’s best-known families.

South Beach is the red hot destination for visitors from all over the world. South Beach has long been a magnet for celebrities, sophisticates and fun-lovers from all over the world who thrive on its cosmopolitan atmosphere, chic restaurants and night-clubs and fabulous beaches. Seen around town ….Cindy Crawford, Will Smith, Jennifer Lуpez, Cameron Diaz, Robert De Niro and Gloria Estefan to name a few. South Beach is also a mecca for shoppers looking for trendy boutiques. Adding to the light-hearted fun of the colour palette are the pastel painted Art Deco hotels, the landmark of the historical area.

Fort Lauderdale is characterised by broad esplanades and boulevards, shaded by tall palm trees, elegant sidewalk cafйs and marinas filled with gleaming yachts. Sawgrass Mills, with over 400 name brand stores and the world’s largest outlet mall. Las Olas Boulevard, in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale is a beautifully landscaped, gas–lighted street and is lined with chic boutiques and fine dining spots.

Why price is not everything when buying luggage

Broken zippers, ripped seams, plastic rollers, bent handles. These are some of the bad effects of purchasing luggage based solely on price alone. When it comes to protecting your things, the cost of luggage is not one area where you want to scrimp.

Even if you decide to purchase a warranty on your luggage, the terms of the warranty can be very confusing and, in the end, not much is really covered. By the time you pay to send your item for repair, it’s not really worth the effort.

One very common problem that occurs with inexpensive luggage is the use of plastic wheels or rollers. Plastic rollers do not roll well and tend to break easily. Your luggage will be prone to tipping over, making it difficult to drag the luggage on the thin airport carpet. Your luggage will surely spend more time on its sides that on its wheels.

Another common problem is the poor construction of the extendable handle. Sometimes, these handles do not properly extend and lock which will eventually bend the handle. Once it bends, it can no longer extend properly, making the handle useless and making it impossible for you to pull your wheeled luggage.

And nothing can fix a broken zipper. If your luggage has one of those big, cheap metal zippers, chances are at some point its going to split. Maybe it will happen when you pack your luggage too full, or when your luggage ends up squashed by heavier luggage in the baggage area of the plane.

There is only one way to make sure none of these scenarios happen to you. Be careful to buy luggage only from a well-known manufacturer. Read lots of consumer reviews on the luggage you are considering purchasing to see what others have experienced. Check the Internet for information about the brand or brands you have your eye on so you will be well informed. Compare, and don’t fall for sales that advertise $400 luggage for $200. Don’t be sucked in by so-called “designer” luggage. Calvin Klein may make great jeans, but that doesn’t mean they can make great luggage. Construction is everything in great luggage.

Think carefully about the kind of use your luggage will get. If you travel frequently, more expensive luggage is definitely worth the money. While shopping, be sure to open the luggage and thoroughly check the inside.

Discount last minute puerto vallarta packages to the four seasons resort punta mita

We managed a discount last minute Puerto Vallarta package to the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. In truth the discount was the bonus, because we fully intended to go there anyway, and pay the full price, but thanks to some work online, we got a huge discount. A quick thank you to The Vacation Bargain Finder, details of which can be found at http://www. worldwidevacationspots. com/pages/Vacation-Bargain-Finder. html

We stayed for five nights in a casita, which although it wasn’t an ocean view, it was still lovely, with a king-sized bed, fantastic marble bathroom, big outside terrace, and great extras, in fact everything you would expect from a Four Seasons Resort, and yet something indefinably more, possibly the big plasma screen television!!

The service in the resort was first class, always there when you wanted something, very willing to make sure it was to your satisfaction. When we lay on the beach the hourly ‘visits’ were always awaited with anticipation as we savoured smoothies, ice cream, cold towels, fresh fruit. The beach is great, clean, clear water, and no difficulty in getting sun beds or umbrellas.

We loved the infinity pool, and the views, and again, there wasn’t any difficulty at all getting sun beds, which is quite a change from other resorts we have stayed in. Additionally the beautiful grounds were kept immaculately clean.

The food was an experience not to be missed, and we ate in all the restaurants and didn’t have a bad meal once. We both particularly enjoyed the Bahia grill restaurant right on the beach. We both appreciated the efforts made to cook the food as you wanted it, not exactly as the menu described it, and that is very unusual in our experience.

The spa and fitness room were well laid out, and I took some exercise almost every day, and again the supply of cold towels and water brought to the equipment you were working out on was a great joy.

Finally, The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is the type of resort that never feels crowded even when full. The prices for food and drink are extremely high but so are the resort’s standards.

You can find a discount last minute booking by doing a little work, and it will be so worth it!!!

Tour hawaii by helicopter

You know that Hawaii is so spectacularly beautiful and that is why you intend to have your next vacation in Hawaii. However, with so many interesting places to visit and discover in your short vacation trip, you will have insufficient time to visit all the tourist attractions there.

Well, there is a solution actually. You can have an overview tour of Hawaii without spending too much time traveling from one place to another. Yes, have a bird's eye view of the breathtaking Hawaiian islands by taking a helicopter tour.

The birds in Hawaii are certainly very fortunate to be able to gaze down on one of the most awesome sceneries on Earth such as from the skies of Kauai, they can get to view the Waimea Canyon, Mount Waialeale's majestic waterfalls, hidden reclusive sandy coves and the jagged Na Pall Coast. Now you too can have a bird's eye view by taking a helicopter tour on your vacation holiday Hawaii.

Take a flight over Hawaii's Big Island and view the resplendent volcanic activities of Kilauea, especially when it is erupting can be very exhilarating.

I want to sound word of caution here. Do not be like many tourists who regretted for the rest of their lives because they have forgotten to bring along their cameras. However, do not get too engrossed taking too many photographs and videos because you will miss the scope of your beautiful surroundings.

Many tourists have a tendency to glue their eye to their camera's viewfinder that they forgot that the main purpose for the helicopter tour is to experience the space and the breadth of their surroundings.

Yes, a picture paints a thousand words but no photographs could ever hope to capture the panoramic view as you hurtled across the Hawaiian sky! How can the photographs or the videos capture the feeling of the land suddenly dropping off beneath you as you fly across the edge of cliffs and volcano craters? Your helicopter tour of Hawaii will certainly be wasted if you do not enjoy the experience of your freedom in space.

However, there is a controversy in experiencing your trip over Hawaii in a helicopter. As there is a profusion of companies offering chopper tours there are many such tours everyday and this creates noise pollution which is very jarring for tourists and locals alike who wants to enjoy Hawaii's famed tranquility. There are loud calls for the number of helicopter trips and tours to be cut down.

So if you want to enjoy a memorable holiday vacation in Hawaii, try taking a helicopter tour.

Skiing at breckenridge mountain

As you drive into the town of Breckenridge, you can see Breckenridge Mountain and many of the lifts. Breckenridge Mountain has four peaks and each is labeled peak 10, peak 9, peak 8 and peak 7. You can ski all four of Breckenridge's peaks in one day if you are up for a hike. The only peak accessible by lift is Peak 8.

Breckenridge has many green trails which are perfect of beginners. So do not be intimidated when you see the tops of the mountains, because you will not have to ride the lifts to the top to enjoy all the skiing that Breckenridge has to offer. If you are an intermediate skier, Breckenridge has plenty of blue and black runs that offer wide open skiing or tree skiing.

If you enjoy extreme skiing, you'll love Breckenridge Mountain! You can hike any of the four peaks and on peak 8, the lift that will take you to the top.

The Imperial Express Superchair will take you 12,840 feet high to the top of peak 8. From here, you will be able to see the town of Breckenridge, Quandary Mountain, Baldy Mountain, Ten Mile range, Lake Dillon and Keystone Resort. Be sure to bring your camera so your memories last forever.

Once you reach the top of Peak 8, you can choose your own way down the mountain. You can take Art's Bowl, Peak 7 Bowl, North Bowl, Imperial Bowl or the Whales Tale which take you to the Lake Chutes. This is the finest extreme skiing that you will ever find and you will certainly enjoy your ride down!

Here are some stats on Breckenridge Mountain. We hope to see you out here soon!

Season: November 11, 2005 - April 23, 2006 (Weather permitting)

Hours of operation: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM Mountain Standard Time

Base Elevation: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters

Summit Elevation: 12,998 feet / 3,963 meters

Vertical Rise: 3,398 feet / 1,036 meters

Number of Trails: 146

Lifts: 28

Breckenridge mountain breakdown from easy to extreme:

• Easiest 15%:

This includes all of Breckenridge's green trails.

• More Difficult 33%:

This includes all of Breckenridge's blue trails.

• Most Difficult 20%:

This includes all of Breckenridge's single black diamond trails.

• Expert 32%:

This includes all of Breckenridge's double black diamond trails.

Inexpensive honeymoon vacations

Who says that a luxurious cruise to Tahiti or a Hawaiian destination is a requisite for honeymoon vacations? Your honeymoon should be a quiet romantic time with your newly wedded spouse and it is also a time to relax after months of wedding planning and all the pressure that goes with it. Spending a ton of money on top of all that wedding rigmarole may not be best plan because you are just going to be stressed out about it.

Honeymoon vacations can be quite inexpensive if you and your significant other put your heads together to come up with a game plan. Compile a list of some favorite activities that you like to do alone as well as together as a couple. Next, choose a few places within a few hours of home that you enjoy. Compare the two lists to create another list of possible honeymoon vacations that will mesh both of your favorite things to do and places to go.

If you live in California, you can create a driving vacation and visit several vineyards throughout the countryside. Wine honeymoon vacations, while not totally unique, can be planned according to what you want to do and see and there is definitely room for spontaneity. Even Texas has quite a few vineyards, especially in the hill country and they are often surrounded by country cottages and quaint bed and breakfasts that cater to honeymooners. Italy or France in the off-season also provides some inexpensive honeymoon vacations. Be advised that some tourist attractions will be closed in the off-season; however, there would still be many sights to see and vineyard tours to take.

Honeymoon vacations can also be spent in a variety of amusement parks if adrenaline pumping rides is your version of a good time. Disneyland is a favorite destination as are smaller local area amusement parks. If you live near a beach or large body of water, how about selecting from several honeymoon vacations where water skiing, jet skiing and parasailing are featured options. White water rafting is another great idea for adrenaline junkies on their honeymoon.

If you and your significant other enjoy the great outdoors, why not pitch a nice, cozy tent and go camping? There are quite a few state and national parks all over the country with plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking trails, swimming, fishing and nature walks. The solitude of camping is part of the appeal for honeymooners. If roughing it in tents is a bit too rough, consider renting an RV for a few days or even a rustic cabin on a lake, in the woods or on a mountainside. There are likely plenty of options within a few hours of where you live. You may be close to home but with honeymoon vacations in the “wilderness,” it will seem as if you are miles away from home.

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Visit the kennedy space center during your orlando vacation

If you’re bringing your family to Orlando you will no doubt visit Disney World and the other theme parks in the area, but why limit yourself to theme parks, when you can also visit the fascinating and educative Kennedy Space Center located at historic Cape Canaveral? Here is a brief guide to some of the attractions currently on offer at the Kennedy Space Center.

Meet an Astronaut

The center has arranged for various astronauts to meet visitors and talk about their missions in space. Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programs are scheduled to take part throughout the year.

Simulated Shuttle Launch

If you want to get an idea of what an astronaut feels during liftoff, then the Space Center’s launch simulator is the best way to do it. The room vibrates and roars and when the engines shutdown participants get to view the earth, as astronauts see it when they reach their orbit.

Early Space History

This is a walk through exhibit showing the background of today’s space program. One of the highlights is the actual control panel which was used to guide the astronauts of the Mercury and Gemini space programs. Mercury and Gemini capsules are also on display.

Viking Mars Mission

In 1976 a U. S. unmanned craft landed on Mars and took the first pictures of the red planet’s surface. This exhibit takes you on that journey and visitors also can see and touch a piece of Mars as well (in the form of meteorite that fell to earth many years ago).

IMAX 3D Theater

With the help of giant screens, five stories high, you are taken on an awesome journey into space. The films contain dramatic footage taken by astronauts during their space missions and you get a feeling that you are right there with them.

Saturn 5 Center

The Saturn 5 was the huge rocket that took astronauts to the moon and back in the early 1970s. Featuring an actual 363-foot, 6.2 million pound Saturn V moon rocket, this exhibit takes you on a trip to the moon with a recreation of the first Apollo mission to the moon. There is also a hands-on exhibit.

LC 39 Observation Gantry

This is a 60 foot tower which will give you a great view of the space shuttle launch pads. There is also an on-the-ground exhibition which includes films of the Shuttle program, showing the actual process used to launch a Shuttle into space.

Space Center Guided Tour

This is a bus ride all around the Kennedy Space Center. It stops at the important places and the bus tours depart each day (except Christmas Day and certain launch days) beginning at 9:30 a. m., and leave continuously throughout the day, with the last bus leaving approximately four hours before closing.

The Space Shop

Are you fascinated by space memorabilia? Then this is the place for you. The Center’s gift shop has more than 8,000 space-related items that make perfect souvenirs or additions to your serious space collection.

This is only just a small part of what you can see at the Kennedy Space Center, so if you want to treat your kids to an out of this world experience be sure to add it to your list of “must-see” places when you make your next Florida Vacation.

Parks and gardens in chesterfield to enjoy during the summer

There’s nothing healthier or better for you than the great outdoors. Whether you want to get out and walk the dog or go for a cycle ride, then the parks in Chesterfield are some of the best parks around.

Here’s a small summary and a little bit of information of just some of the parks in and around the chesterfield area.

Queens Park

Queens Park is the largest of the Chesterfield Town Parks, and is located in Chesterfield town centre. Queens Park is currently in the process of a full re-generation which will include new toilet facilities, a restored and re-modelled boating lake, a new hospitality area big enough for up to three marquees and the restoration of the grade II listed glass house. The grade II listed bandstand in Queens Park has also been completely restored to its former glory. These are just some of the projects being funded by Chesterfield Borough Council and the heritage lottery.

Queens Park is located behind the Queens Leisure Centre in Chesterfield town centre. The Leisure Centre offers a full range of services including Badminton Courts, a 33 metre 6 lane swimming pool, teaching and beached baby pool, Gym, Indoor Sports Hall and a cafeteria. There are several car parks surrounding the park, all for a small charge, can be used.

There is also a boating lake, which recently flooded in the heavy rains, as well as a railway track. The little train that runs around the track has recently been in the local press as local children won the right to name him Puffin Billy.

Somersall Park

Somersall is a smaller residential park located slightly off the beaten track where Chesterfield Golf Club first started in 1897. Its first members played a nine hole course in Somersall Park. The Club moved to its present site in 1906 when Somersall Park proved to be too short. As well as having playing fields, a fun playground and a cricket pavilion, Somersall Park also has recycling facilities located in the car park.

The river Hipper runs through Somersall Park which is great for the dogs and the kids in the summer!

Hunloke Community Garden

Hunloke Community Garden can be found just off the A61 in Chesterfield and is easily found by following the brown Tourist Info signs from the main rd. The Garden was created by the local people on an old derelict field and is now a fully operational nursery growing vegetables and plants for sale. There is also an orchard and a pond which has become a haven for various wildlife.

Hunloke Community Garden is open 9am to 4pm during the week in the winter and 9am to 6pm every day during the summer.

Pools Brook Country Park

Pools Brook Country Park is Chesterfield’s newest and largest park situated on Inkersal road, Pools Brook, Chesterfield and is signposted from the A632. It’s built on reclaimed colliery land and is a very important site locally for biodiversity. It has a variety of habitats including lakes, meadows and woodlands.

The Country Park is very popular with local wildlife as well as the residents of Chesterfield and surrounding areas. The fishing lake at Pools Brook Country Park is also a hit with local anglers.

There is a visitor's centre where you can pick up information about the various woodland walkways and there’s also a Community Cafй.

What you ll find when you visit the north georgia mountains

As you venture to the highest point in Georgia, you will encounter the North Georgia Mountains, where a variety of energizing activities, interesting get-togethers, and refreshing recreational opportunities are found. Found in the northeast corner of the state, the spread of mountains in the region are also part of the Blue Ridge mountain chain that runs its course in Georgia. In the United States, it is this stretch of mountains that is known as the oldest range in the nation, estimated at more than 1 billion years old. The North Georgia Mountains are also part of the Appalachian Mountains and serve as the backdrop to numerous cities and counties, such as Clayton, Gainesville, and Elberton.

Those interested in visiting this particular mountain region will come across a rugged region filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty, as various scenes come to life with flora, fauna, sky, and water. For some, the region serves as an inspirational trek of land, where others enjoy the folklore attached to the area, such as Native American legends and a gold mining history.

The water about the North Georgia Mountains allows a variety of exciting water sports to take place about the mountains, such as swimming and boating. Visitors also admire the region's plentiful assortment of fish that makes a great adventure in bringing home the largest catch of the day. The trout season in Georgia is an especially alluring draw for the region, as individuals take to the lakes, rivers, and streams scattered about the land from the last weekend in March to the last weekend in October. Some of the locations for trout to seek out include Helen, Clayton, and close to the Blue Ridge Dam. For bass and catfish, they thrive at Lake Burton, Lake Chatuge, and Lake Blue Ridge, which offer more than 100 miles of shoreline that become the perfect place to rent a cabin for a weekend getaway.

Others prefer to flock to the area to partake in a wide range of recreational pursuits, such as camping or hiking, where visitors take to the Appalachian Trail or opt for one of the shorter selections about the Northern Georgia region. People even enjoy a few rounds of golf in the vicinity, as enthusiasts visit the Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris and the Kingwood Golf Club and Resort located in Clayton.

Top 10 places to visit in london

: London enchants everyone who comes here. This is a place filled with fun and entertainment and it also has a history to bank on. Palaces, parks and museums are there in good number. So let us start our journey and explore London.

Tower of London: Located on the north bank of river Thames, this is marvelous palace to go for. Recently it has also been included in UNESCO world heritage list. Earlier this place was known for torture and great misery.

Buckingham Palace: Visit this place for the changing of guards. It is quite funny to look at the guards with big black hats. This place attracts millions of visitor every year.

St Paul’s Cathedral: Built in 1710, this is a beautiful church. St Paul’s Cathedral has awesome interiors and go to this place for men and women who risked their lives for its safety. Also look out for acoustics because it is very interesting.

West End: This is art capital of London and has many theatres. Enjoy plays and musical shows which run throughout the day. There is every chance of meeting your favourite actor because they are also regular visitor here.

Westminster Abbey: This place is one of the tourist attractions of London. There are many big names buried here. Visit this place for the architecture and rest assure about cherished memories you will carry home.

Trafalgar Square: This is a place once visited for feeding pigeons but that is not allowed these days. Go there for many monuments and you will not be disappointed.

Clock Tower: Often referred to as Big Ben this is one of the most pictured tower. Visit this place for having fun and taking snaps of the world largest four faced chimney clock. The whole experience will be amazing.

Harrods store: Any vacation is incomplete without shopping. Harrods store is world famous and you can get many things for near and dear ones back home.

London Eye: Take a ride of this London Eye and you will say why I did not come here earlier? London Eye gives you a panoramic view of London.

Hyde Park: Spread over more than 300 acres, this is one of the parks that give London a greener look. You can check this one and also since it is closer to many other attractions, this is a must for your London visit.

The atomic testing museum

At 755 East Flamingo Road in Las Vegas resides one of the more unusual museums that visitors to this wild city can view. Considering that we're talking about Vegas, that's saying something. In fact, this museum would be considered unusual anywhere. For at that site is housed The Atomic Testing Museum.

Sponsored in large part by the Smithsonian, and run by the Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, it offers displays and videos documenting the almost 50-year history of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada. Though the major original site for atomic bomb tests during WWII was near Alamogordo, New Mexico, by the time the hydrogen bomb came along testing had shifted to Nevada.

For more than four decades, local residents of Las Vegas and visitors to the casinos could actually feel the earth shake and then see the mushroom clouds centered in the Nevada desert test sites not too many miles away. Gamblers would head under the tables as the chandeliers swayed. Later, testing moved underground where the fallout was contained. But the man-made earthquakes were just as strong, if not more so.

As of 1992, in part due to an agreement among the major powers to end live testing, the smoke cleared and the ground became quiet. But the history of all those tests has been preserved at The Atomic Testing Museum. Visitors can read about the growing power of H-bombs as they progressed from January, 1951 to the final test in September 1992. Along the way, the bombs got smaller and the explosions bigger. There are numerous displays, videos and even a few interactive devices. Guests can actually manipulate the same type of arms that were used to handle radioactive material behind a protective lead-glass cage.

The Ground Zero Theater gives an in-depth presentation of the efforts used to build the U. S. arsenal. In this simulated concrete bunker with red lights and wooden benches with decor to match the real thing you'll get a glimpse into the world of the bomb makers and their products. Despite their destructive power, most people will be fascinated with the blossoming mushroom clouds produced by the gigantic explosions.

There are dozens of photographs, including one depicting one of the earliest American nuclear tests: the Bikini Atoll, 1954. One second the small island was there, the next it was vaporized. Along with the historical and scientific displays there are collections of related memorabilia of the day, called the 'Atom Bomb and Pop Culture'. You'll see cereal boxes offering an Atomic Bomb ring, the once-popular 'Atomic Cocktail' and other items from a time when the science behind the bomb was praised not feared.

While you're there, you can pick up an Albert Einstein T-shirt. Though he didn't work on the project, nor did research on atomic physics, his letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt helped encourage the U. S. to initiate the research during WWII. Housed inside the Frank H. Rogers Science and Technology Building, the museum was first opened in March 2005. It also employs knowledgeable staff, some of whom actually worked at the test site, who can answer visitors questions. Come get a view from those who witnessed the events first hand.

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Discovering the allure of chichen itza

Just over 100 miles from the glamorous resorts and pristine beaches of Cancun, rests Mexico’s most celebrated historical site. Chichen Itza, once a prominent regional capital of the Mayan civilization, is a sprawling complex of pre-Columbian ruins. Though the city lay neglected until archeologists began exploring and preserving the site in the 1920s, the Mayan capital has become one of Mexico’s most visited attractions. Chichen Itza – meaning “at the mouth of the well of Itza” – is also a World Heritage Site and finalist for the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The most well-known structure at the Chichen Itza site is the Temple of Kukulcan, also known as El Castillo. In addition to being one of the most famous remains of the Mayan civilization, this wonderfully preserved step pyramid once served as a monument to the culture’s greatest mythical creature. Kukulcan, the feathered serpent deity more commonly known as Quetzalcoatl, is celebrated in an incredibly unique architectural flourish. During the spring and fall equinoxes, the structure casts ornate shadows in the form of a feathered serpent along the northern staircase.

Demonstrating a common Mesoamerican architectural tradition, El Castillo was actually constructed atop another smaller temple. At the base of the northern staircase, visitors can enter a tunnel to the interior temple. The small room at the top of the staircase still houses King Kukulcan’s Jaguar Throne, carved from stone and painted red with jade spots.

These temples are at the heart of the debate surrounding the age of the city and the year of its decline. For decades, it was believed that the interior temple dated to a period just before 1000 AD, soon after the ruler of the Toltec civilization of central Mexico – who would later call himself Kukulcan in honor of the god – came to Chichen Itza. The historical belief held that Kukulcan, working with his Mayan allies, expanded Chichen Itza into the most powerful city in the Yucatan region. While many of the remaining structures at Chichen Itza represent a mixture of Mayan and Toltec styles, advanced technology has shown that the city most likely rose to prominence around 600 AD. Furthermore, while Mayan chronicles reference a revolt and civil war in 1221 – the previously held date of Chichen Itza’s decline and Mayapan’s rise – archeologists now believe Chichen Itza may have fallen by 1000 AD, creating a mysterious historical gap between the peaks of these Mayan capitals.

El Castillo and its inner structure are not the only temples at Chichen Itza. The High Priest’s Temple – a smaller version of El Castillo – served as the burial site for elite members of society. The Temple of the Warriors is another well-preserved step pyramid surrounded by carved columns with depictions of Mayan fighters. The Temple of the Warriors is also near the large plaza now known as The Great Market.

To the northwest of El Castillo is a large open space that might seem like another market at first glance. However, this area is the largest Mesoamerican ballcourt in all of Mexico, measuring 545 feet by 232 feet. The field is lined with sculptures of athletes, most notably a depiction of the losing team captain being decapitated. On the ballcourt’s exterior wall, The Temple of the Jaguar and another jaguar throne – similar to the interior of El Castillo – were built into the structure.

Another pair of popular structures is the complex known as Las Monjas (The Nunnery) and El Caracol (The Snail). Though referred to as a nunnery by Spanish conquistadores, Las Monjas was actually the primary governmental palace of Chichen Itza. El Caracol – a large round building on a square platform – served as the city’s observatory.

Called “the snail” for its spiral staircase, the Mayans incorporated many unique features into El Caracol. From the doors aligned for viewing of the vernal equinox to the stone cups designed to hold water and reflect the stars, Mayans based their understanding of the universe on this observatory’s technology.

Whether you visit Chichen Itza on your own or with a tour group, getting to the site from Cancun is a breeze. Tours can be arranged directly through your resort and most feature knowledgeable guides. However, guided day tours don’t always allow much free time at the site. If you want to explore the site on your own schedule or just beat the early afternoon crowds, consider renting a vehicle or spending a night at the pleasant villa near the ruins.

Tanzania s top ten destinations

1.The Ngorongoro Crater is stunning and most certainly unique. The crater has an immediate and overwhelming initial impact on all ones senses. Designated as a World Heritage Site, the crater has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. An estimated 25,000 large mammals in a relatively small area make it a ‘must’ destination when on safari on the Northern Tanzanian Safari Circuit. This natural amphitheater is as diverse as the immense Serengeti with a cross-section of wildlife and habitats all contained in the collapsed volcanic crater. Ngorongoro is home to one of the few remaining populations of black rhino in Tanzania.

2.The Serengeti National Park has so much to offer for it is vast and every season is special in this amazing National Park. However, for most safari itineraries the main focus of any trip to the Serengeti is the migration, depending on the long rains from February to May, where up to two million herbivores take advantage of the short grass of the southern Serengeti to calve and feed, before moving north westerly to eventually arrive at the dramatic crossing of the Grumeti river, home to some of Africa's biggest crocodiles. Large numbers of lion, hyena and cheetah follow these massive herds producing some of the finest game viewing on earth.

3.The Zanzibar archipelago consists of fifty or so islands the main island is called Unquia but usually referred to as Zanzibar Island. Stone Town is the capital of Zanzibar being the port and entrance to these spiced islands. As you step off the ferry onto the quay, the smell of cloves is carried on the breeze to greet you and immediately you are transported into this tropical paradise. Dhows sails, shaped like the crescent moon, sail out of the harbor and pass along the miles of palm fringed beaches – this is heaven on earth.

4.Tarangire National Park is probably Tanzania’s most underrated park. This park is used as a stop over point on the way to or from the Serengeti. It is a special area, a bird watchers paradise and in the dry season many animals are attracted to the area as it has a year round water supply along the River Tarangire. There are some wonderful camps here such as Swala Camp and then the magnificent Oliver’s Camp in the wilderness area of the Park. The park is most legendary for the large concentration of elephants and the huge baobab Trees that dominate the park.

5.Lake Manyara National Park is a small but scenic safari park. The wooded parts of this park get so humid that the only escape from the heat is to climb the trees. Although it is most unusual for lions to climb trees, this park is famed for its tree climbing lions. The park also offers canoeing on the lake and this is a fabulous way to get out of the safari vehicle burn off a few calories and see the game from an unusual perspective.

6.Mt. Kilimanjaro, sitting on the Tanzania - Kenyan border, is remote, alluring and simply put, awe inspiring. Part of the adventure of climbing this mountain is to begin on the dusty plains of equatorial Africa and experience the non technical climb to near arctic conditions at the summit, passing through tropical rain forest, moorland and alpine desert onto snow and ice. Located in Northern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro dominates the landscape. This is Africa’s highest point.

7.The Selous Game Reserve is huge and wild, roughly the same size as Belgium. This park is on the Southern Circuit and has much to offer. Although it is not as popular as the national Parks in the North of Tanzania, in recent years visitors have begun to realize this park has much to offer the tourist looking for the remote wilderness experience. The northern section of the park has a handful of luxury camps. This area is one of the few places in Africa where wild dogs are found. As the animals here are not as habituated to humans they are much more difficult to spot. However this park truly offers the Out of Africa experience.

8.Ruaha is probably the most arid of Tanzania’s parks. It is on the Southern Circuit and is sometimes know as Giraffe Park as it has in excess of 8,000 Maasai giraffe. The Kudu is also prolific in this park and when surprised this animal will stand as a statue, blending perfectly into the background. The rare and endangered African hunting dog are fairly common in Ruaha. As is the case in most areas of Tanzania, bird life here is spectacular. From December to January the park enjoys a large number of the rare Eleanor’s falcons.

9.Mafia Island is set off the coast of central Tanzania, twenty kilometers from the Rufiji River Delta, making this remote island an ideal place for relaxing after a safari in the Selous. A small island, fifty kilometers long and fifteen kilometers wide and completely surrounded by a barrier reef, entry by light aircraft is required. The reef is teaming with marine life. There are over 460 species of tropical fish in these reefs as well as five species of turtles. The diver, either beginner or more experienced, has a profusion of underwater habitats to explore.

10.Arusha National Park is a lovely park is set between the peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. It is a tiny park - only 53 square miles. The Park is an area of outstanding beauty and can be visited easily for a few hours from the nearby town of Arusha. The highlands are forested, with the peak of Mount Meru rising above the forests to dominate the park. The forests are populated by a thriving and varied bird life and climbing in the ancient cedar trees is the dramatically marked black and white colubus monkey, barking its haunting call through the quiet forest.

London every travellers dream destination

: London is among one of the hot tourist destinations. Millions of visitors flock to London every year in their quest to see the various attractions that the city has to offer. The City is blessed with abundance of museums, palaces, magnificent landmarks, and wide variety of cultural sites including the parliament buildings, Buckingham palace and the Camden Town Market.

Being a tourist destination, London offers wide range of accommodation to its guests. There is no dearth of hotels as there are themed hotels in the central areas, every kind of hotels to suit the budget of every type of travelers, and little cottages or inns are also there for those who prefer peace and quietness in the outskirts of the city.

The City is well-served by good transport link, thus making it easy for you to go to any tourist attractions. You can also stay in any of the hotel and plan your short break to the city.

However, if you want to make your stay in the city incredible, it is advisable to plan out your visit in advance. You can look out for accommodation from where you can get easy access to local attractions, shopping, and entertainment. Find out the best accommodation which will take care of your need and purse without compromising on quality of service.

If you are a budget traveler, you can find several hostels and hotels located within Tube or near main tourist attractions and vibrant nightlife spots – including a wide variety of clubs, theaters and music venues. So, whether you are a leisure traveler who have come here to enjoy the attractions or catch the royal sights, or a business traveler on a business trip, the plethora of accommodation available will ensure that you are not bereft of any of the happenings in the city.

To make your travel in the city easy and convenient, you can take advantage of the Oyster card which is quite handy. This swipe can be topped up in much the same way as a mobile phone top-up card.

Oyster card will make your travel around the city easy and hassle free, as the fares tend to be cheaper if you have this card with you. Not only this, it also saves your time as need not worry about in your pockets for the right amount of change for the bus or train.

With Oyster card you can travel to any part of London without the fear of being stranded in the middle of your tour. London has many stores and newsagent where you can top-up your Oyster card without your need to travel to a tube station to do so. The Oyster card can change the entire perspective of your trip and gives you the opportunity to top-up in preparation for a day trip.

Travel to london for an unforgettable experience

London is one of the cultural capitals of Europe and has loads of sightseeing and activities for tourists of all ages. There are an innumerable amount of things to see and do in London but here are some “must see” sights that shouldn’t be left out of your travel itinerary.

The British Museum is vast and is so big that seeing everything in one day is near impossible. The Greek and Egyptian exhibits are especially impressive and are considered by some to be the best permanent museum installations of their kind.

The British Airways London Eye can be seen from all over central London; it is the tallest observation wheel in the world. Views from this wheel are impressive to say the least and it will give you a better orientation for your remaining sightseeing.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is over 300 years old and remains a spiritual landmark for Great Brittan. It has hosted weddings and funerals for Great Brittan’s royalty and leaders. The architecture is impressive and a beautiful piece of history.

The National Gallery located at Trafalgar Square is another must see that is impossible to cover in just one visit. The art contained at the National Gallery ranges from Leonardo da Vinci to Monet and is sure to impress even those who are not art savvy.

The London Zoo at Regents Park is home to an impressive amount of animals and is a big draw for families with children. There are daily animal shows and it is so large that two days should be given to see the entire park.

Another gallery that is sure to interest all ages is the Tate Modern Museum. The art installations use different kinds of mediums and range from Andy Warhol to Matisse. The building itself is a work of art and is a “must see” on your trip to London.

The Tower of London is another sight not to be missed. It was built of bricks imported from France and is most popular for its many executions. It was even dubbed the “bloody tower” after it was speculated that Richard III murdered his nephews there.

Another museum to take in is the Natural History Museum which contains one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils. This is another big hit with the children but is sure to impress adults as well.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and frightful experience do not miss The Madame Tussaud’s Experience. It’s a wax museum full of ghoulish figures; some of them are electronically animated which adds to the excitement.

Finally a trip to London would not be the same without a visit to Westminster Abbey which has become one of London’s most stunning churches. It is not only an architectural masterpiece but it is also the burial place for many famous figures.

London is a fun and exciting city for all ages. Ensure you include as many “must see” sights as possible to get the full London experience and the most out of your vacation.

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